On Wednesday (March 17), Amalgamated Bank announced its support of HR 40, the legislation that would start the process of giving Black people in the US reparations. Amalgamated Bank is the largest union-owned bank in the country and is the first major US bank to declare its support of reparations for Black Americans.
“H.R. 40 is a basic first step to move the country forward in building an equitable economy that creates opportunity for all people to thrive and meet their basic needs,” interim CEO and board chair, Lynne Fox said in a press release, as reported by The Hill.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas is spearheading H.R. 40 which would establish a commission to study the impact of slavery on Black Americans and potential options for reparations.
“We believe H.R. 40 should be the first of many actions to make amends for our country’s long history of racism and ensure a more just future for all Americans,” Fox stated.
As the first major bank to make such a declaration for reparations, Amalgamated Bank said it’s “hopeful we are not the last.” In addition to supporting the bill, the bank called for an official apology from the US government for slavery and “tangible remedies” for Black people’s contributions to establishing the US economy. It also reportedly noted that banks and other members of the financial industry played a role in stunting the economic growth of Black people in the US.
“While Amalgamated’s nearly 100-year-old legacy of social action is clearly demonstrated, we acknowledge that there is more for all of us to do to stem the tide of complacency and call for higher levels of justice for all people,” the bank said in a statement.
As of December 2020, Amalgamated Bank has a reported $6 billion in total assets.
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